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I heard about the game Love Letter from some board game blogs. I have read its rules, although I haven't really started playing it yet. It is a very interesting game indeed. But what puzzles me is:

What story does Love Letter tell?

The Wikipedia article on Love Letter says that

Each player aims to deliver a love letter to the princess with the assistance of collaborators.

But it doesn't explain what role the player plays, or what story each game tells.

What does it mean when a particular card is in your hand?

I have some confusion about this.


For example, when a King in your hand, what does it mean?

Does it mean you are playing as a king?
No, that's impossible... Because you can discard the King; then you are not a king anymore.

Or does it mean your love letter is in the king's hand?
If that is true, why doesn't the king give the letter to the princess directly and let you get married?


Another interesting example:
What does it mean when you have a Princess in your hand?
Does it mean that the princess has got your love letter?
Or you have eloped with the princess? And then caught by guards?

22

The game is a bit abstract, when it comes to the theme connection with mechanics, but I don't think it's quite that confusing.

Quoting from Premium Edition Rules (emphasis added)

In the wake of the arrest of Queen Marianna for high treason, none was more heartbroken than her daughter, Princess Annette. Suitors throughout the City-State of Tempest sought to ease Annette’s sorrow by courting her, seeking to bring some joy into her life.

You are one of these suitors, trying to get your love letter to the Princess. Unfortunately, she has locked herself in the palace, so you must rely on intermediaries to carry your message.

During the game, you hold one secret card in your hand. This is who currently carries your message of love for the Princess. Make sure that the person closest to the Princess holds your love letter at the end of the day, so it reaches her first!

The card you hold out of your turn would represent who's currently holding your love letter. At the end of the round, the closer that closest person to the princess is the one to deliver that suitors letter first. Apparently its first come, first served, but lets not dwell on that.

On your turn you have a chance to have one character exert their influence over the other suitors or at least the people happening to hold their letters, while the other gets your letter passed to them.

How exactly are you getting all these people, all the way to the king, to help you out with this? We don't really know, maybe you're just so sweet with your words.

As for the princess, you have somehow managed to get the letter directly at her hands. However, she doesn't read it immediately but instead...

[...] Obviously, you want the princess to carry your letter. However, she is self-conscious about matters of the heart, and if confronted, will toss your letter in the fire and deny looking at any correspondence.

If you discard the Princess — no matter how or why — she has tossed your letter into the fire. [...]

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  • Very thank you for the detailed explanation! But I still have some confusion. For example, when a King in your hand, what happens if some player use a Guard to designates you with a King? Why you must be eliminated? As you said, the king currently carries your letter. Does this mean that the guard have the permission to check the king's pocket? Could you explain the guard's behavior further?
    – chansey
    Dec 14 '20 at 20:58
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    @chansey I doubt there's the level of detail you seem to be looking for here. You will find a bit more from the linked manual, but that part of the game is a lot more on the abstract, mechanics driven style. Not every part of board games is neatly explained within the theme. Though trying can be fun in it's own right, as the results may be quite amusing in their absurdity.
    – DJ Pirtu
    Dec 14 '20 at 23:55
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    @chansey The Guard passes the letter to the Countess, whispering that it's for her friend, the Princess, then goes off looking for the letter sent by his patron's rival. He tries the King, who is indeed holding a letter. He salutes the King. "All clear, sire," he says. The King, embarrassed to be seen with a scented love letter, crumples it up and throws it away... Dec 15 '20 at 14:59

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